Dress to Impress Your Interviewer
Though your skills and experiences are your greatest strengths, the first impression is based on your appearance. So it is essential to dress for success.
There is no such thing as the ideal outfit for an interview. It depends greatly on the job you apply for and on the dress code of the company. If you want a job as a manager it is recommended to be more elegant and formal; in this case, wearing a suit and tie is a good idea. But it might not be the best choice, if the workplace is less formal. Research the company and try to find out what is their dress code. You might even check out what the current employees wear. It can help you to create a general idea about the place as well.
Even if there is no attire that would suit each and every situation and profession, I can give you a guideline to consider when deciding what to wear to an interview:
- Attire - Whether you choose a formal or a more casual wear be presentable. Make sure your clothes are not wrinkled, stained or torn.
- Colorful clothing - No matter the season, try to avoid bright colors or patterns.
- Facial piercings - It is advised to hide or give up on any facial piercings that can cause uncomfortableness for the interviewer.
- Accessories – Sometimes less is more. A watch, a set of earrings, a wedding ring, a bracelet is fine but oversized jewelry can be distracting.
- Handbag, briefcase – Make sure it fits your attire and try to keep it tidy. I know it is a challenge for some of us, but you don't want to empty your entire handbag because you don't find your CV or your call-card.
- Make-up, perfume and aftershave – Avoid too much make-up. Heavy scents are a no as well. You should also check on lipstick before the interview. (It can be embarrassing if you realize afterwards that there was lipstick on your teeth.)
- Shoes – Make sure it is polished and closed-toed. What about its colours? I'd say you can't go wrong if you choose neutral colours.
- Hairstyle – Again, much depends on the job you applied for but make sure it isn't your bad hair day and it doesn't bother you during the interview. Fussing with your hair can be distracting.
- Neat manicure – An interview usually starts with a handshake and your hands will stay visible all the time so make sure you are not ashamed of them. Nail polish is not necessary but your hands should be neatly manicured. Please don't forget, that it applies to men as well.
- Interview etiquette – Avoid chewing gum. To ensure fresh breath you'd rather take a breath mint before the interview.
3 Things Women Should Avoid:
- Visible bra straps - It is important to avoid any lingerie stripes to show off during interview. They’re called intimates for a reason.
- Too short or too long skirts – Try to avoid altogether clothes that are too revealing. Choose medium length skirts and in case of pants, avoid them being too skinny or too baggy.
- Sunglasses on top of the head - You don’t want to be remembered as "the chick with the sunglasses on her head”. After all, you are at a job interview, not at the mall.
3 Things Men Should Avoid:
- Any types of hats - Wearing a hat during the interview is not a good option, so be polite and take your hat off when you arrive.
- Increased facial hair – A wild mustache or a bushy beard is not a good pick for a job interview. Try a more conservative approach and trim or shave your beard.
- Socks that don't match the shoes – I think I don't have to go in details what is wrong with black shoes and white socks.
Before the Interview
- Plan and try on what you intend to wear days before the interview.
- Set the alarm clock 2 hours ahead so you will have enough time to get prepared and get to the interview.
- Put an extra copy of your CV and your portfolio, if you have any, in a briefcase or your handbag.
- Make sure you have a pack of tissues, in case you need to use it to wipe off stress sweat or adjust makeup.
- Switch off or silence your cell phone
If in doubt, choose a bit more formal attire. This will increase your chances of being taken seriously.